Recommendation concerning Problems in Martkopi Boarding House for Persons with Disabilities

On January 24, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the State Fund for Protection and Assistance of Human Trafficking Victims to take necessary measures for solving problems at the Martkopi boarding house for persons with disabilities.

The Public Defender's Office, on the basis of the notification received through a hotline, studied the alleged violation of the rights of one of the beneficiaries of the Martkopi boarding house for persons with disabilities – the branch of the State Fund for Protection and Assistance of Human Trafficking Victims, as well as reports about a confrontation between beneficiaries.

To study the case, the Public Defender carried out ad hoc monitoring with the participation of the Special Preventive Group at the Martkopi boarding house. The visit revealed that the Martkopi boarding house for persons with disabilities was overcrowded. The administration does not have the leverage to take care of persons with severe disabilities and persons with mental and behavioral problems simultaneously. The confrontation in the establishment is of systematic nature, which directly or indirectly involves every group. No vision or work strategy is being developed with respect to the problem. Beneficiaries of the boarding house are unequally treated. The common form of handling the conflict situations is to transfer beneficiaries to a psychiatric establishment or threaten them to be moved to such an establishment, as a punishment.

As a result of the mentioned problems, the rights of the majority of the beneficiaries to live in a safe and secure environment are violated. Constant conflicts and rivalries negatively affect their mental health.

The aforesaid problems were mentioned in the Public Defender's monitoring Report on the Rights Situation of Persons with Disabilities in State Care Institutions[1] prepared in 2016. However, a number of issues still remain unsolved.

Based on the above, the Public Defender considers that certain measures must be taken for the prevention of escalation of the conflict in the facility, including: transfer of beneficiaries to a psychiatric hospital as a punishment and/or threatening them to be transferred to the mentioned facility should be banned; gaining of privileges by small groups/individuals should be prevented and equal rights should be ensured for all beneficiaries; psychological services of other organizations should be applied; daily 24-hour availability of a general-profile physician and a psychiatrist should be provided, given the specifics of the facility; services of social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists should be provided.

In addition, regular activities should be planned and implemented for raising the personnel’s qualifications; rehabilitation programs, including social and psychological programs, must be strengthened and diversified; timely identification/registration of cases of violence and legal, social, medical and psycho-social rehabilitation of victims of violence must be ensured.

[1] Rights Situation of Persons with Disabilities in State Care Institutions.

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